“Ever since their deaths in the 1980s, six years apart, there has been a seepage of disclosure and reappraisal [re: Sartre and de Beauvoir]. We have learnt the extent to which this equivocating pair were Communist fellow-travellers for a full decade after the revelations of Stalinist brutalities and the Hungarian uprising destroyed the myth for all but the most bigoted party members.
“We have learnt how they failed to play any significant part in wartime resistance, but managed to create a subsequent impression that they had been in on it all.
“Even more tellingly, we have become aware of a bubbling stew of resentment, accusations and conflicting interests and of the existence of adopted heirs (one his and one hers) squabbling over personal papers. There must, one felt, have been something amiss with the structure of their legendary and much-vaunted free union, and with their whole notion of ‘contingent’ attachments around the central one, if it all ended so squalidly — and so drenched in pills and alcohol.”